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Weekly wrap-up: Historic bomb cyclone strikes eastern US; Windstorm rips across Europe

By Katy Galimberti, AccuWeather staff writer
January 06, 2018, 8:00:03 PM EST

A major winter storm blasted the eastern third of the United States this week, dropping snow in parts of Florida and walloping the Northeast.

The storm underwent bombogenesis, a rapid strengthening that causes the storm's center to undergo a major drop in pressure. The bigger the pressure drop, the stronger the storm and the more intense its impacts will be.

Snow fell in Tallahassee, Florida, for the first time in more than 30 years on Wednesday, causing travel chaos in the region. Five inches of snow fell in Charleston, South Carolina, making it the third snowiest day since the city began keeping records in 1938.

Icy roads created dangerous highway conditions in Georgia and the Carolinas.

The storm then barreled north, strengthening and creating blizzard conditions from New York City to Boston. Over 100,000 homes lost power at one point during the storm, the Associated Press reported.

Intense winds up to 75 mph were recorded in Nantucket, creating extreme conditions.

Traffic accidents, power outages, downed trees and power lines were reported from Washington, D.C., to Hartford, Connecticut.

At least 10 people died in weather-related accidents, the AP reported. Four people were killed in the Carolinas during midweek after their vehicles ran off snow-covered roads. Another fatality was reported in Philadelphia when a car slid into a commuter train during the storm.

ap snow storm nyc

Rebecca Hollis of New Zealand drags her suitcases in a snowstorm through Times Square on her way to a hotel, Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Ice chunks were seen floating in Boston as the city and parts of coastal Massachusetts suffered severe flooding during the blizzard. Water levels in the Boston Harbor reached record high levels on Thursday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service.

Some of the highest snow totals occurred in Maine where over 18 inches were reported in Bangor. In Massachusetts, Boston received just over 13 inches, while a storm total of 16.8 inches was reported in Worcester. New York City's Central Park recorded just under 10 inches of snow.

The storm followed a major cold snap in the Midwest and Northeast, which killed more than a dozen people, according to CNN.

The cold may also have been responsible for a string of shark deaths off Cape Cod.

Four thresher sharks were found dead and frozen after becoming stranded along several beaches in the past week.

Shark strandings during the winter along Cape Cod are not unusual, but having so many in a short period of time is, said Gregory Skomal, a senior marine fisheries scientist for the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries.

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Subzero temperatures turned Niagara Falls into a frozen spectacle earlier than usual. It is not abnormal for Niagara Falls to turn into an icy landscape in freezing temperatures, but it is rare for the falls to ice over this early in the season. Typically, these conditions unfold in late January and into February.

A windstorm battered parts of Europe this week, causing extensive damage and travel delays in some regions.

Known as Storm Eleanor in the United Kingdom, widespread wind gusts over 60 mph (97 km/h) were recorded throughout Northern Ireland, Wales and England and Ireland. Multiple rescues were reported due to trees falling on cars, according to The Guardian.

At least 15 people were injured, four seriously, by Eleanor in France according to Europe1. One fatality occurred at a ski area in southeastern France due to a falling tree, according to BFMTV. Roughly 200,000 homes lost power throughout the country, including 30,000 in the Paris area.

The powerful winds uprooted trees and closed roads in western Germany. A 70-meter high wind turbine was toppled by the strong winds near Hamburg, according to Schaumburger Nachrichten.

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